Travellers wait in front of a passenger jet belonging to Irish discount airline Ryanair at Charleroi airport in southern Belgium. Picture: REUTERS
Travellers wait in front of a passenger jet belonging to Irish discount airline Ryanair at Charleroi airport in southern Belgium. Picture: REUTERS

London — Major disruption to flights between Britain and the EU from March 2019 is looking increasingly likely as Brexit talks proceed, Ryanair CE Michael O’Leary has warned.

Airlines say they would need a new deal to replace the current "open skies" arrangement by September or October 2018 to be able to provide scheduled flights in the months after Britain leaves the EU.

But O’Leary said initial signs from Brexit talks were not promising and that likely EU demands for any new deal would probably be unpalatable to London. The airline boss was speaking after talks with British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, which he described as "a very good meeting".

O’Leary said Grayling was increasingly conscious of the need to conclude an aviation deal before the end of 2018.

However, he did not share Grayling’s optimism that a deal would be straightforward.

"We believe the French and the German airlines in particular are actively negotiating against any favourable deal," he said.

O’Leary has been warning that a failure to agree on a new bilateral aviation deal by late 2018 could lead to a total freeze on flights between Britain and the EU.

Reuters

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